Friday, January 30, 2009

Toulouse, Part II: ROCK the boat

Are you ready to ROCK...with bunnies?!?!

So, about that boat. Turns out it's really a permanent music venue.

While a canal boat (Cri de la Mouette) is certainly an unusual location for a rock show featuring four bands (plus DJs), Jefe didn't think too much of it. Canal boats used as houses, restaurants, and bars are not so uncommon in certain places (Amsterdam especially, but also Paris). And while the outside looked a little grungy, the name matched, and the gangplank was sporting the same poster we'd seen, so it must be the place. Another reassuring sign (depending on how you look at it): the canal seemed pretty stagnant and shallow, so it didn't look like the boat was going anywhere.

Armed with this news, we rendez-vous'ed at the Cinema Utopia for Idiots and Angels, an animated film by George Plympton. It was without dialogue or embellishment, and was very well done. The underlying question to the audience is "What if you didn't get to choose whether you or not you do good?"

be good, dammit

Post-film and craving some spicy food, we were off to Baan Siam, a Thai restaurant Rebecca found on the internet (the guidebook, and even local publications, are completely devoid of information about Asian and Indian restaurants). While it was nearly empty when we got there, the waiter wanted to make sure we would finish in an hour as they were fully reserved starting at 9pm. I guess that's a good sign. We asked for our dishes très très piquant (very, very spicy) and were a little more than surprised to actually receive them that way. Jefe was sweating and blowing his nose from the hot peppers (just the way he likes it). We finished with some coffee ice cream to soothe our deliciously tortured tongues.

Leaving the restaurant, we were a little worried about being late for the start of the show and that the tiny canal boat would already be at capacity. Upon arriving, we learned that we couldn't board because the show wouldn't start for another hour (although we had some suspicions that we were turned away on the grounds of not being sufficiently hip). So we walked down the street (to a more upscale establishment) for a drink while we waited for the cool kids to decide that the magic hour had arrived and we could give them our money and come aboard. After the waiting-drink, we checked back, and saw there were still people loitering outside the boat. Since the show apparently still hadn't started, and since we had perhaps already been deemed not cool enough to enter when it did, we headed to a more distant bar to bide our time until the doormen were too stoned to care who they let in.

At some point while we were killing time, we found (to some surprise) our mysterious aquatic venue listed in not one but both guidebooks. Perhaps this was a legitimate operation after all, and not merely some squat turned music venue that required a certain haircut for entry. Reenergized, we turned around and made it inside in time to catch the first act, The Pumplies. Needless to say we were surprised. Not only was the music good (most of it awesome even), there was alcohol and bathrooms (that the awesome musicians occasionally puked in). So we ended up staying for all the bands. There was only one dud in the bunch (perhaps because, unlike the other bands, they lacked a female member), Wild Women and the Savages, which reminded us of the SNL spoof show Sprockets. However, the (male) guitar player was wearing a button-down suede mini dress, no underwear (steep get the picture), and a lighted sign on his chest ("WW" for Wild Women), and the singer was wearing a Lucha Libre mask, so we tried to forgive them their musical shortcomings.

(Cristal Palace featuring singer reminiscent of 90's era Courtney Love and Ian Curtis)


All in all, a great couple of days in Toulouse dodging some pretty nasty weather. Thanks to a combination of a guidebook or two, the internet, and a little luck.

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